Podcasting: You Don't Have to Go It Alone

Ways to network and connect with fellow podcasters and your audience

Exchanging business cards at conference
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Podcasting is a fun way to share your ideas with your audience through the power of your voice. It is even more rewarding when you have inspiring guests who you click with. The conversation just flows, and you feel like you are building relationships and a community. And when you get to connect with both your guests and your audience is when podcasting is most rewarding.

Engaging and Interacting With Your Audience

Yes, listening to podcasts and leaving reviews on iTunes are forms of engagement, but true engagement requires a two-sided conversation. Your website is a great first place to start. Your podcast's website can be a great place to initiate conversations through questions and interact in the comment section. You can also initiate further interaction by offering a free incentive to get listeners and blog readers to sign up for your mailing list.

Social media is another popular way to engage and build community. Choose the appropriate social media channels and have conversations with your audience. Conversations and storytelling are two popular ways to interact and podcasting and social media are the perfect channels for both.

Podcast Events and Conferences

Interaction with your audience is wonderful, but learning from and interacting with other podcasters will keep you motivated, and help you to take your podcasting to the next level. Fellow podcasters are your tribe, your mentors, and your friends.

Finding and networking with fellow podcasters is a way to build relationships and gain a fresh perspective. A perfect place to mingle and network with other podcasters is at an event or conference. Below are a few of the bigger podcasting conferences and events, but there are others depending on your location and genre.

Podcast Movement is a networking group for aspiring podcasters and industry professionals alike. They have over 100 different speakers and focus on all aspects of podcasting from just getting started to audio to finding the best advertisers. They also have an exhibit hall featuring podcast specific hardware, software, and technologies. Attendees can choose from around 80 breakout sessions focuses on the track of their choice. Options are the Technical Track, Creators Track, Business Track, Industry Track and more. Besides the huge knowledge bombs gained at an event like this, the opportunities for networking are exponential.

MAPCON, as the conference is often nicknamed, is filled with presentations and panels from some of the biggest names in podcasting. It presents many opportunities to have fun and network with fellow podcasters, and a few big names, too. Among last year's titles were “Improv in Podcasting”, “The Choreography of Conversation”, and “How to Rock The Podcast from Both Sides of the Mic.” You can check the website in the latter half of the year for the latest upcoming conference.

In previous years, this conference was held at The Wonderbread Factory, an original 1913 Wonderbread factory which has now been redeveloped into office space. They have several influential speakers including a keynote by Andrea Seabrook, the Washington, DC Bureau Chief at Marketplace and NPR’s Congressional Correspondent. The second keynote is by Joel Boggess, the host of the Relaunch Podcast and the best-selling author of “Finding Your Voice”. Along with awesome speakers like Carole Sanek, Chris Krimitsos, and Dave Jackson. They also will have a live podcast party and podcaster speed dating. The entire event ends with local shows, lively discussion, and pancakes.

The above is just a sampling of what you may find at an event, depending on which one you attend and the year and session. The list below has more events that you may want to check out if you are looking for an upcoming session.

If you want to find an event that is closer to home, try using Eventbrite to find local and lesser-known events according to your search criteria. If you can’t attend one of these major podcast events, you may still be able to buy access to the previously recorded sessions.

Podcast Meetups

Podcast meetups are a great way to meet local podcasters in your area. These are often smaller and they really give you a chance to talk face to face with a diverse group of podcasters. If you want to expand your horizons, try a meetup in a different geographical area when you are on a vacation or trip. PodCamp is a like WordCamp for podcasters. It’s a form of a meetup/conference where you can meet and learn from other podcasters.

Podcasting Communities and Groups

There are podcasting groups and communities that can be found on social media like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+. If you are looking for a group on LinkedIn just go to the search and type in podcasting group or whatever your area of focus is. You will find many options like the Podcasting Technology Resource Group.

Google+ also has quite a few groups or communities that you can join. Search for podcasting, and you will find several communities and collection on Google+ that revolve around podcasting. The new Google+ seems to revolve around communities and collections creating opportunities to zoom in on specific topics.

Facebook has a large selection of public and private podcasting groups. You will need an invite to the private groups, but you should be able to join most public groups by clicking the Join Group button and then getting approval.

Meeting New Podcasters and Getting Interviews

While attending events and meetups, you may run into podcasters that you don’t normally have access to, but you would still like to have them on your show. Be prepared to capture a quick interview right then and there. It’s a good idea to be prepared for a quick podcast on the go when attending these events.

Podcasting on the Go

If you are going to be podcasting at an event, you will need portable equipment. There are quite a few free and paid apps that allow you to record, edit, and even publish a podcast from your phone. These will do the trick, but the sound may not be great and the editing may be limited and cumbersome from your phone. To record an interview from your phone decide ahead of time what software you are going to use and learn how to use it. You don’t want to waste the valuable time of your guest. For the iPhone, you can always use Garage Band.

For the best sound, you will need an external microphone. You can share the microphone with your guest or get two microphones and plug them in with an adapter like the Rode SC6 Dual TRRS input and headphone output for Smartphones. You can also get a couple of lavalier lapel microphones. They are small and can be carried in your pocket, and the sound quality is good.

Another option that may be better than recording on your phone is to use a portable recorder such as the ones made by Tascam or Zoom. These are small, handheld, and battery operated. Some have built-in microphones, or you can use an external microphone. Make sure to get one with two microphone inputs for recording interviews if you are using external microphones.

There are plenty of options for networking and socializing with other podcasters. There is no reason to forge ahead by yourself when there are vibrant communities just waiting for you to join. A large event or conference can be a great way to learn advanced techniques, and you just might land that big name interview you've been waiting for.